Interact with a tiger at Dade City's Wild Things - WFLA News Channel 8

Interact with a tiger at Dade City's Wild Things

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DADE CITY, FL (WFLA) -

 In a rectangular shaped play area, a white tiger cub rests under the cool shade trees at Dade City's Wild Things zoo in Pasco County. The baby tiger is only three weeks old.

The little guy is still unsteady with his large paws.  Scooting around and taking long breaks are typical at his age, according to zoo president Randy Stearns. Stearns says this species of tiger is vary rare.

Stearns says this color of tiger happens, "If two orange tigers had that white gene they could produce a white tiger like the little one here. But if a white tiger and another tiger that didn't have that gene can not."

Stearns adopted the tiger cub from a zoo in North Carolina.

One of the things Dade City's Wild Things offers is for guests to get up close to these 'big cats' before they are too big to handle.

During the encounter, guests can interact with the tiger cub.  They can pet him and even get their picture taken with him.

Eventually, the cub will be big enough to swim with guests. They can watch the tigers swim with their webbed paws and even hold them while they are floating in the pool. And there is also a little play time afterwards.

The tigers can do this until they reach 40 pounds. Stearns says the white tiger should be ready to swim sometime in August.

Right now the tiger cub weighs about five pounds. Stearns says in about four years he will weigh as much as five hundred pounds.

Stearns says a key part of the interaction encounters is education.

"There's only 32 hundred tigers left in the wild. At the turn of the 20th century there was over a hundred thousand so it has been dropped. Within the next ten years these guys could be extinct in the wild," says Stearns.

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